Victor Augustin Isidore Dechamps
Cardinal, Archbishop of Mechlin, and Primate of Belgium ; born at Melle near Ghent 6 Dec., 1810; died 29 Sept., 1883, at Mechlin. He and his brothers made rapid progress in science under their father's direction. One, Adolphe, entered on a political career. Victor pursued his ecclesiastical studies first at the seminary of Tournai and then in the Catholic University begun at Mechlin and afterwards transferred to Louvain. Ordained priest 20 Dec., 1834, he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1835, and made his vows 13 June, 1836. The next four years he spent at Wittem as prefect of students and lector in dogmatic theology. In 1840 he began his missionary life and in 1842 was nominated rector at Liège. He took an active part in the founding of the Confraternity of the Holy Family , which he considered his most salutary work. In the historic jubilee of Liège he had a large share both by his "Le plus beau souvenir de l'histoire de Liège ", and by his preaching (1845-46). He visited England and saw the wonderful effects of the Tractarian movement. In 1849 he was nominated consultor general of his congregation, and took up his residence at Pagani near Naples just when Pius IX was in exile at Gaeta. He had several audiences with the pope and was instrumental in arranging the transfer of the superior general from Pagani to Rome. This was not effected till 1855, when Pius IX invited Father Dechamps to the first general chapter held in Rome. The question of his appointment to the See of Liège was considered in 1852, but the pope, touched by his personal appeal, did not insist. In 1865 Dechamps became Bishop of Namur, whence he was transferred in 1875 to the Archdiocese of Mechlin and made primate. At all times devoted to the Church and the pope, he took an active part in the formation of the pontifical zouaves, and persuaded General Lamoricière to offer his services to Pius IX. But his prominence in the history of his country and of the Church is due to his battle for Catholic schools and his defence of papal infallibility before and during the Vatican Council. Manning and Dechamps were indefatigable; and they became cardinals in the same consistory, 15 March, 1875. Dechamps worked to the very end. He said Mass on 28 Sept., 1883, and died the day following in the arms of a Redemptorist who happened to be present. He was buried, as he had desired, by the side of Venerable Passerat at Rumilliers.
The complete works of Dechamps, revised by himself, were published in Seventeen volumes at Mechlin. In presenting fourteen of the seventeen volumes to Leo XIII on 7 Feb., 1879, the author writes: "There is one thing that consoles me, Holy Father, in sending you my poor works: they are all consecrated to the truths of our holy Faith. . . . Volume I is consecrated to the truths of faith ; II to Our Lord Jesus Christ ; V to the Blessed Virgin Mary ; III and IV to the Church and St. Peter; VI to the pope and his infallibility ; VII, VIII, and IX to the refutation of modern errors ; X, XI, XII, XIII, and XIV to my preaching as bishop and to acts by which I governed my diocese." Of the remaining volumes, XV, "Mélanges", deals with many important questions; XVI and XVII contain letters on questions in philosophy, theology, and other subjects. Cardinal Dechamps's brother, Adolphe, was made Prime Minister of Belgium, 4 April, 1843. He was also minister of public works, and minister of foreign affairs from 30 July, 1845, to 12 June, 1847.
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online